or Kwang Shang Fu) was the name of a Chinese martial arts expert, coming
in 1756 as a ambassador of the Chinese Ming-Emperor to Okinawa. At that
time he was yet a well known master of the Quanfa and a respectable
Here is a short
story of the first meeting of Kushanku and the young Sakugawa, teacher of
One day, when he was 23 years old, the young Sakugawa decided to visit
Nakashima-Yukaku, which was famous for its gay quarters. While crossing a
bridge near the Izumizaki inlet, he noticed an elegantly dressed Chinese
fellow standing by the edge of the river, watching the reflection of the
moon on the water. A sudden mischievous impulse came over Sakugawa. He
wanted to push the stranger into the river as a prank. He stealthily crept
towards the stranger and suddenly gave a strong push. The Chinese stranger
spoke the word, "Danger!" in strongly accented Okinawan, turned and
grabbed Sakugawa by the hand in an iron grip.
"Now why did you do that?" the stranger asked. "Do you realize your prank
could have resulted in some danger? What if I were some weakling unable to
cope with this situation? You are very powerful and you should not play
like this. The Okinawan people have been very kind to me and I will
overlook this, but refrain from such pranks in the future."
Sakugawa was so ashamed he did not know what to say. At
this moment a young man approached them and gave a jug of sake to the
Chinese stranger. Turning to Sakugawa, the young man asked, "Are you not
Sakugawa? I was not sure whether I had recognized you. What are you doing
"Do you know him?" the Chinese gentleman asked the young man, pointing to
"Yes," the young man said, "He is a well-known local karate student who
shows great promise."
The Chinese gentleman peered intently at Sakugawa. "If you ever come to
Kume-rn~ra, ask for Kushanku and I will teach you not only the how, but
also the why, of the martial arts." And pointing to the young man who had
brought him the jug, he said, "He is Kitani-Yara, a student of mine who is
helping me during my stay in this country."
Overwhelmed with emotion at this stroke of luck,
Sakugawa could hardly wait to get back to his sensei and tell him of this
account. When he related his story, Takahara was also overjoyed and said,
"Go to Kushanku and learn what you can. He is the most skillful of all the
martial artists who have ever come from China. Fortune is smiling on you.
When Kushanku returns to China, you are welcome to come back to this
house. Now Hurry!"